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Philips Original Jackets Collection: Obsessed With Sound

4.5 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

A limited-edition 55-CD set of legendary and critically acclaimed recordings celebrating the famous PHILIPS heritage.

An alliance of great artistry and superb sound.

Classic-status albums spanning over half a century of recording and showcasing a wealth of international talent.

An unrivaled collection that that embraces all musical genres - from solo piano and chamber music through to large scale choral works and opera.

Music that spans more than two centuries of masterworks from Bach Concertos and Schubert Lieder to twentieth-century masterpieces by Stravinsky, Bartok and beyond.

Each CD is housed in a sleeve with original cover art, a 200-page booklet documents the history of the label with personal reminiscences by key members of staff on both the technical and artistic developments of the label:

1] A history of Philips Classics by Frans van Dongen [Former member of the Philips Classical Recording Department in Baarn]

2] Philips Classics - A personal recollection by Costa Pilavachi [former Head of A&R and later President, Philips Classics]

Full recording information on each disc is included in the booklet and there are numerous photographs.

The release of this PHILIPS set has been made possible as a result of a special agreement with PHILIPS and use of the trademark is confined to this limited-edition set.

Product Details

  • Composer: Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Liszt, Gioacchino Rossini, et al.
  • Audio CD (December 4, 2012)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 55
  • Label: Philips Classics
  • ASIN: B0091HVMVO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,211 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gengler VINE VOICE on December 7, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Back in the 1970s, Odyssey Records was located on Union Square in San Francisco. It is there that I sated my emerging appetite for classical albums. Walking into the vast store, entire walls were lined with the latest release from the major labels (domestic sale price $5.98 and imports, like Philips a couple of dollars more). There were two things that struck me about Philips albums. First, their covers - elegant, very European, and sometimes a little off-putting (Alfred Brendel or Claudio Arrau staring into the camera, looking somewhat unapproachable). Other times, the albums contained stunning images - most notably the paintings by Edvard Munch that were used for Colin Davis' Sibelius cycle with the BSO (a cycle shockingly without representation in this box set, as it introduced an entire generation to this great composer).

It was the second thing about Philips' releases that struck me the most - and that was the characteristic Philip's sound. It was beautiful - full, spacious, deep, resonant, and extremely truthful. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that this box is emblazoned with Philips' motto: "Obsessed With Sound". They were, and remain so. That is the single characterisitic that unites this eclectic grouping of performances. With rare exception - particularly the Gardiner/Verdi/Requiem which remains somewhat congested. The chamber performances in particular, shine. All of Arrau's performances - including the many that are not incuded here, are recorded in some of the most life-like sound I have ever heard - as true in their CD incarnations as it was in their original LP releases.

Reviewer HT (above) gets it right, although we do disagree on that Verdi Requiem (see the comments). Most performances are excellent, if not definitive.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you are sitting on the fence about whether or not to buy this set, get ready to be pushed over to the "buy" side. The wife and I wavered over this for a while, but with a price of around $2 per CD, we decided to take the plunge. Part of the reason for our wavering was we weren't exactly sure which original albums we would get, as Amazon did not provide a track list and the CDs were not available to download.

Well, we are very glad we bought this set. You get the original Philips recordings, most of which are rare and hard to get, and some even have bonus tracks from the same conductor's other albums. Each CD is stored in the jacket of original artwork and the set comes with a booklet. The selection is outstanding, covering symphony, chamber and vocal or opera, with works from about 40 composers from different musical periods, with a good mix of top notch conductors, orchestras and guest performers. Overall sound quality is great. For those who want to know exactly what you'll be getting, a complete CD list with performance details (and ten links - the max allowed) is included below.

This set is well worth the price (as of this writing) and much more convenient and compact than buying the individual CDs (provided you could even find them all). If you are a long time classical music fan, you may have already owned most of them, but you may find some jewels. If you are new to classical music, this is a must-have set. Now, don't hurt your ankle on the way down off the fence.

CD 1 - Bruch: Violin Concertos No. 1, op. 26 & No. 2, op.
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By ht on December 4, 2012
Format: Audio CD
at least so far! I'm less than half way through listening to this set, but have no reason to believe that the remaining CDs will be any less excellent than the ones that I've heard already. Philips has always been my favourite label, starting over 40 years ago when I first began buying classical records. I always thought that they had the best combination of artists, recorded sound and record pressing quality (something no longer pertinent now in the age of CDs, but important then - it didn't really matter to me how good an artist was if he/she was on an Angel or Columbia pressing).

This shows in the present set. The performances are generally first class and the recordings are all excellent for when they were made. Outstanding of the discs that I've heard so far are the Verdi: Requiem / Quattro Pezzi Sacri (Four Sacred Pieces) (Gardiner), Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique (Davis), Bartók: The Miraculous Mandarin; Hungarian Peasant Songs; Rumanian Folk Dances (Fischer) and The Rite of Spring and Tchaikovsky 5th (both by Gergiev) Igor Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring / Alexander Scriabin: The Poem of Ecstasy - Valery Gergiev / Kirov Orchestra. But none of the first 20 CDs has been a disappointment.

These recordings are highly regarded here in Amazon reviews and they are mostly discontinued (at least in Canada) now that this set is out.
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